The news broke on Wednesday that the Atlanta Braves’ Division Series roster was out and there were big names not on it. Notable names not on the roster are second baseman Dan Uggla, starter Paul Maholm and reliever Scott Downs. Though it is certainly newsworthy for one of the highest paid players on the team and two top of the line pitchers to be left off of the roster for the first round of the MLB playoffs, it isn’t or shouldn’t be surprising.
Uggla is an obvious scratch. He just hasn’t been what the team needs him to be day to day and hasn’t proven to be great off of the bench either. Rookie Jose Constanza made the roster but he has as many hits in his last six pinch-hit at-bats as Uggla has in his last 29 at-bats overall. Plus Constanza can relieve in the outfield quite well. Uggla probably won’t make any of the rosters unless they chose to use him in the bench/ utility role.
Maholm could have made the roster if he weren’t a straight line starter. Freddy Garcia and Alex Wood have both worked well as starters and from the bullpen. They both give Fredi Gonzalez more options and that is the only reason Maholm didn’t make the cut. Downs was doing fine and looking like a staple in the bullpen before he broke a finger on his glove hand. Since that time he pitched more than one-third of an inning only one time. It clearly needs to heal and if it does he could make his way onto later postseason rosters providing the Braves advance.
All in all the Braves included who they needed to include and left off good sense players that they didn’t need. Some might be surprised that B.J. Upton made the team since he has struggled as well. Upton still could get some starts in the outfield here and there but he also provides another good speedy set of feet from the bench for pinch-run situations late in these key games if he doesn’t start. It is a good roster. We’ll see how they do.